An ambulance is a medically equipped vehicle which transports patients to treatment facilities, such as hospitals. Typically, out-of-hospital medical care is provided to the patient.
Ambulances are used to respond to medical emergencies by emergency medical services. For this purpose, they are generally equipped with flashing warning lights and sirens. They can rapidly transport paramedics and other first responders to the scene, carry equipment for administering emergency care and transport patients to hospital or other definitive care. Most ambulances use a design based on vans or pick-up trucks. Others take the form of motorcycles, cars, buses, aircraft and boats.
Generally, vehicles count as an ambulance if they can transport patients. However, it varies by jurisdiction as to whether a non-emergency patient transport vehicle (also called an ambulette) is counted as an ambulance. These vehicles are not usually (although there are exceptions) equipped with life-support equipment, and are usually crewed by staff with fewer qualifications than the crew of emergency ambulances. Conversely, EMS agencies may also have emergency response vehicles that cannot transport patients. These are known by names such as nontransporting EMS vehicles, fly-cars or response vehicles.
Types of Ambulances
Basic Life Support Ambulance:-
Basic life support (BLS) is a level of medical care administered to victims of non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries until they can be given full medical care at a hospital. This is provided by trained medical personnels, including emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and by qualified bystanders.A BLS ambulance is primarily for those patients that require medical transportation and it contains essentials like a patient bed, a pulse oxyimeter and oxygen delivery devices. Auto-loading stretchers, wheel chair, are also provided for efficient patient management. This emergency service is ideal for patients who have undergone any kind of surgery or are ailing and weak, but do not require advanced support or cardiac monitoring. For that, read on about the next type of ambulance.
Advanced Life Support Ambulance:-
Advanced Life support (ALS) ambulance also known as the Cardiac Care Ambulance is equipped with a ventilator, defibrillator, oxygen cylinder, an electrocardiography (ECG) machine and a monitoring device.These ambulances are mainly used to address life-threatening emergencies including sudden cardiac arrests and the emergencies which require providing oxygen and respiratory support to critically ill-patients. Equipped with these advanced features, ALS ambulance services are better equipped to handle life-threatening situations that involve cardiac arrests, lung related issues and rescue operations, to name a few.
Patient Transport Vehicle:-
A Patient Transport Vehicle (PTV) transports patients to and fro from the medical centers and cater to non-urgent care, for example a visit to the hospital or a dialysis center. For such instances of non-emergency treatment,vans, buses or other vehicles may be converted into ambulances. Equipped with a patient bed & other basic life-support devices, the PTV allows for patients to make the journey in a hygienic environment.